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Three-day conference on addiction takes place next week in Salisbury

SALISBURY — A three-day conference on heroin and opioid addiction, with a long list of experts in the field, is set for the Salisbury Civic Center on Nov.  7-9.

The conference will touch on addiction, medication, emerging treatments and research. It is titled “The Brain Addicted to Heroin and Opioids and How to Treat It.”

Professionals looking for continuing education credits and the public are invited to attend. The cost is $150 for a three-day pass and lunch daily. The single-day cost is $50, which includes lunch.

Vincent Huntley, executive director of the nonprofit C.L. Projects Inc. of Davidson, organized the conference and has been promoting it throughout North Carolina.

“I’ve been in my car, sleeping at rest stops all over the state,” said Huntley, a former addict. “… I find a laundromat and keep on rolling.”

Huntley said the conference is approved by the N.C. Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board and offers 16.5 continuing education credits.

The Salisbury Civic Center is at 315 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.

Registration opens at 7 a.m. each day of the conference. Activities begin at 8 a.m. with a welcome, announcements, coffee breaks and networking. The first presenters start at 9:30 a.m.

Huntley said the conference is designed for physicians, health care professionals, treatment recovery program staff, mental health substance abuse counselors, social services case managers, nurses, nursing students, clinical staff, school teachers, halfway house staffers, college dormitory monitors, members of the clergy and anyone else “seeking an advance level of knowledge about addiction and how to treat the brain addicted to opioids and heroin.”

“You will get to be a part of  concise presentations delving into the understanding, preventing, diagnosing and treating addiction and co-occurring medical and psychiatric disorders,” Huntley said.

He said there will be “monumental opportunities for networking.”

The keynote presenter from 1:30 to  2:30 p.m. Nov. 9 is Dr. Peter W. Kalivas, professor and chairman of the department of neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina.

The USC medical school is home to the Kalivas Lab, which studies the neuroplasticity underlying the development of addiction to drugs.

Kalivas also will participate in a conference-ending panel discussion from 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 9 with Drs. Kelly S. Barth and Nicole Schramm-Sapyta.

Barth’s clinical research is in internal medicine, psychiatry, chronic pain and addiction with the Medical University of South Carolina.

Schramm-Sapyta is an assistant professor and chief operating officer at the Duke Institute for Brain Science. She specializes in the neuropharmacology of drug addiction and in raising public awareness about addiction.

Schramm-Sapyta will give a separate presentation from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Nov. 9, as will Barth from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. the same day.

Presenters on either Nov. 7 or Nov. 8 include:

• Dr. Mei-Chuan Ko, a professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest School of Medicine. His research interests include opioid receptors and opioid analgesics. Ko will speak from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Nov. 8 on “The Addicted Brain on Heroin and Opioids and New Ways to Treatment and Outcomes.”

• Dr. Mark Wolfson, who is with the department of social sciences and health policies and is co-director of the Center for Research on Substance Use and Addiction at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Wolfson will present from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. Nov. 8 on community-based environment strategies in prevention.

• Judge Rebecca Blackmore, who served as a District Court judge from 1993 to 2014. Over 21 years, Blackmore placed an emphasis on the areas of substance abuse and youth gang activity and was the first judge to preside over the New Hanover County Drug Treatment Court.

Blackmore will speak from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. Nov. 7.

• Dr. William P. Brandon, a distinguished professor of public policy on health at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His recent research focused on the Affordable Care Act and health care for low-income and vulnerable populations.

Brandon will speak from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. Nov. 7.

• Dr. Myra Preston, owner and founder of Siber Imaging in Charlotte. She is a board-certified diplomat in neurotherapy and a cognitive behavioral therapist. She will talk about brain imaging technologies from 2 to 3 p.m. Nov. 7.

• Dr. Elisabeth Johnson, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of health services for UNC Horizons. Her clinical practice focuses on obstetric care to women with substance-use disorders, many of whom are on opioid replacement therapy.

Johnson will present from 2 to 4 p.m. Nov. 8.

Huntley has asked Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander to give a welcome and remarks each day of the conference. He said the Salisbury Parks and Recreation Department is helping to make the conference possible.

For more information, contact Huntley at 980-365-1903 or huntleyvince@yahoo.com. The website for the conference is http://conferenceforum.wixsite.com/conference.

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